Graduate Course Description

350:642 - Theory and Practice of Victorian Fiction

Course No: 350:642
Index # - 20493
Distribution Requirement: A4, B
Tuesday - 1:00 p.m.
SC 201

Theory and Practice of Victorian Fiction

Leah Price

This seminar offers an opportunity to explore the form of the realist novel and the genres of literary criticism. Each week, we’ll read a work of Victorian fiction alongside a nineteenth-century commentary (book review, preface, obituary, marginalia…) and a twenty-first century intervention (article, book chapter, bibliography, video, database, exhibit). We’ll think together about what modes of argument are particular to a genre (the novel), a medium (print), a timing (serialization). In order to figure out how new critical genres and archival formats are changing (as they always have) the rules of the critical game, we’ll experiment with biweekly exercises in a series of genres of professional writing. In place of a single long research paper, therefore, we will lead up to a conference paper by

    • defining a keyword,
    • writing a scholarly book review and a review essay for a popular online venue,
    • captioning an object viewed in a field trip to a special-collections library,
    • composing a conference abstract,
    • and presenting research in a social-media thread.


Thackeray, Vanity Fair, ed. Peter Shillingsburg (Norton) ISBN: 0393965953

Dickens, Great Expectations, eds. Graham Law and Adrian J. Pinnington (Broadview, 1998). ISBN-13: 978-1551111742

Trollope, Barchester Towers, ed. Michael Sadleir (Oxford) ISBN: 0199537658

Gissing, New Grub Street, ed. Bernard Bergonzi, Harmondsworth (Penguin, 1985) ISBN: 0140430326